“The longer you look at Jesus, the more you will want to serve him in his world.”
Jesus said to His disciples “Follow me.” They responded with “How?”
That may not be Scripture, but for any human, disciple of Jesus in the first century or in this century, how to follow Jesus is a very real and pressing question. How do we follow the teachings of Jesus? What actions should we take or not take when we decide to make the Christ our Lord? What should change in my life when I decide to be a disciple of Jesus? It is in the face of such questions that N.T. Wright, professor of New Testament and early Christianity, writes this book, Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship.
But it is not enough to simply tell us why we should follow Jesus or what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus. Wright challenges the reader on the things that are foundational to Christianity. N.T. Wright has gathered these twelve topics found in six different New Testament books and expounded on some very important parts of the discipleship life. A biblical view of Heaven and Hell, temptation, rebirth, new life and resurrection play a very powerful role in how we live out the teachings of Christ; to have any other view or opinion of these matters could lead to destruction. And while a more solid biblical understanding of these things is helpful, even essential to Christian discipleship, it is the implication and application that Wright seems most eager to share. The power of the resurrection is made dull if Christians do not understand how it changes everything, including how they live their lives now. The joy of Heaven can elude us if we think that Heaven is only a far off destination, rather than a place to inhabit now. The application and implementation of this information is what Wright hopes will be done by all readers.
Wright’s knowledge of the New Testament and early Christianity thought provides the reader with a simple, yet comprehensive understanding of what it was that Jesus meant when He spoke of these things on the earth. While Following Jesus is not an exhaustive look at discipleship, this short book does cut deep into the matter and charges each of us to examine our hearts and reflect on this teaching. For those that are stuck on what to do, what next step to take in becoming a better disciple of Jesus, this book will most certainly challenge you to do that.
“the ball is now in your court; the true Jesus is summoning you to follow him, to a life of discipleship.”
“Follow Me” may be the most important words that Jesus ever spoke. And they are the words that are the hardest to understand and obey. That may be the reason that I have been reluctant in my own life to deliberately seek out the answer to “How?” There are so many ideas on how to follow Jesus, so many methods to deepen your relationship with Him. I am not speaking ill of other authors, other preachers or other ways to explain how to follow after Jesus. What I am saying is that some methods or discipleship actions did not connect with me. They did not translate from information to life changing for me. But there was something about the way that Wright wrote this book that did.
There was information, things that I already knew about in the Bible that he explained and spun in a new and unique way that just finally clicked for me. How Heaven and Hell, resurrection and new life were spoken of, they demanded a change in me. These messages spoke with a great deal of significance and required that I reevaluate my walk with Christ, my thinking about my relationship with Him.
Following Jesus is a book that I wish I had picked up early in my life. The truths and implications could have taken hold of me sooner and transformed my relationship with God. While I may wish that for an instant, I am still glad that I read it only recently as I have matured enough to see how true and how important biblical discipleship actually is.
It does not matter the level of theological training you have. If you do not hold a leadership role in a church ministry, that is not a hinderance. Following Jesus is a book that is easily accessible for all levels of spiritual maturity, for people of all ages. I would even go so far as to say, that N.T. Wright has written a book on biblical discipleship that transcends church denominations. What Wright shares in these twelve chapters instructs, illuminates and encourages on every front. We would all be wise to have a copy of Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship.
While this is not Wright’s largest book or most popular, the knowledge and wisdom that is available within these pages makes this a must have for the theological scholar in all of us. Simple to read and understand the great things of Christ, Following Jesus is a book that will remain ON MY SHELF indefinitely.
Pick up a copy of Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship at Amazon.ca